The husband of a British mother who was found stabbed to death in her Italian dream home is the prime suspect and could have fled abroad.
Michele Faiers, 66, was found lying on her first-floor bedroom in a pool of blood by her friend inside her rural home in a village near Casoli, a town in eastern Italy on Wednesday morning.
Colonel Alceo Greco, of Italy’s carabinieri police force, said Ms Faiers’ had probably died at least three days ago and her husband Michael Whitbread, 74, is the prime suspect.
Police launched a country-wide manhunt for Mr Whitbread after his wife’s body was found. It is feared that he could have already fled the country, Col Greco added.
The couple had been living in the house in the countryside near Palombara for the past four years and were described by local residents as ‘very private’.
Michele Faiers (pictured with her partner Michael Whitbread) was found fatally stabbed in her idyllic Italian homeon Wednesday
Colonel Alceo Greco, of Italy’s carabinieri police force, said Ms Faiers’ had probably died at least three days ago and her husband Michael Whitbread (pictured), 74, is the prime suspect
Police (pictured at the scene) launched a country-wide manhunt for Mr Whitbread after his wife’s body was found
Ms Faiers made her last post on her Instagram page on October 25, when three pictures of a spectacular sunset taken from the terrace of her house were uploaded.
She captioned it ‘another beautiful sunset’ and among the people who liked it was her partner Mr Whitbread.
Other pictures show the couple enjoying a winter break, skiing in nearby mountains and in one snap she is seen with her daughter Harriet.
The couple also enjoyed several diving holidays together and Micheal is believed to be an experienced scuba diver.
A local plumber who the couple employed confirmed the Facebook identities to MailOnLine and said: ‘I just can’t believe it. They seemed such a perfect couple. We stayed in touch and would message each other every now and then.
‘I live about 40km away and I heard the news from my friend who lives across the road from Michele and Michael. She was found stabbed and he’s now missing. I’m shocked.
‘The area is full of British people and I have numerous British clients. They employ me to help install boilers and water pipes on their properties.
‘I last saw Michele and Michael a year ago when I came to check the boiler. They had bought some abandoned properties in front of their house and were going to do them up. I just can’t believe it.’
Ms Faiers and Mr Whitbread had been living in the house in the countryside near Palombara for the past four years
The couple also enjoyed several diving holidays together and Micheal is believed to be an experienced scuba diver
Locals residents of the village near Casoli described the couple as ‘very private’
Pictures show the couple enjoying a winter break, skiing in nearby mountains and in one snap she is seen with her daughter Harriet
Michele was found by police in her first-floor bedroom and the keys to the house were reportedly still in the front door
She was found inside her rural home in Verratti village near Casoli, a town in eastern Italy, this morning
Michele was found by police in her first-floor bedroom and the keys to the house were reportedly still in the front door.
Her friend had not heard from her for three days and had become increasingly concerned so decided to check up on her, police said.
Neighbours said they heard her screaming in horror at finding the 66-year-old in a pool of blood and called the police who arrived at the home in the countryside.
Medical examiners are also running forensic tests to investigate how long the victim was deceased before she was discovered by her heartbroken friend.
Local prosecutor Mirvana Di Serio was on the scene and the house, which is on an isolated road in the countryside has been sealed off as police carry out a forensic examination.
A source told MailOnline: ‘The alarm was raised after a friend tried to call her this morning and getting no answer she went to her house.
‘When she got there, she found the woman dead with a stab wound to the stomach and her screams alerted other neighbours and police were called.
‘They kept themselves to themselves mostly but they would be seen every now and then walking their three dogs.
The nearby commune of Palombaro is home to 100 British expats who moved to the area to buy and renovate abandoned farmhouses.
The wider region of Abruzzo is popular with middle class Britons who have moved there because of the cheap cost of living or have holiday homes there.
MailOnline has contacted the UK’s Foreign Office for comment.